Archive for January, 2015

Saturday Drive in Arizona’s Superstition Mountains

Posted in Arizona, ILX, Road Trip on January 25, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  111,069


Trip Distance:  90 Miles


Sometimes a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city is just what you need to recharge.  The teeny town (read:  Population 6) of Tortilla Flat, Arizona is a step back in time to 1904 when it served as a stagecoach stop during construction of nearby Roosevelt Dam.  Today, the town retains its wild west heritage and welcomes dozens of weekend visitors, just like me, who need an occasional break from the urban grid.

Exiting US 60 at Idaho Road, Arizona Highway 88 winds itself through the Superstition Mountains for about 18 miles as a two-laner lined with gigantic saguaro cacti leading up to the townsite.  The bright blue desert sky didn’t have a stitch of cloud in it, and temperatures were perfect for windows-down and moonroof-open cruising, so I hit the road with a few friends:


Chandler, Jack, and Midge (the Border Collie) joined me for Saturday’s eastward trek in the ILX.  My favorite part about the drive to Tortilla Flat is that the road has two one-lane bridges near Canyon Lake.  It takes careful planning & coordination with oncoming traffic to decide “who’s up next” when it’s time to cross.


Tortilla Flat’s only restaurant, Superstition Saloon, was busy with an early afternoon lunch rush, but we got seated right away.  Lining the walls that surrounded us was a wallpaper of a very unique type:  Dollar bills.  The walls, pillars, and sometimes even the ceiling, were absolutely covered in $1’s.  Each one had a handwritten Sharpie message inscribed on it.  I noticed that most of the bills near our table were dated around 2009.  I asked the hostess at the front desk, “How much money is on these walls?”  She told me the bills totaled up to around $200,000!  The burger with green chili slices was exceptional, and Jack’s open-faced “Killer Chili” burger with homemade chili on it looked pretty tasty, too.


We felt like hiking around a little bit after lunch, so we wandered across the street and down to Mesquite Creek which is a tributary of the larger Salt River.  Midge loved romping around on the boulders and playing fetch with any stick she could get her mouth on.  A couple of times she took a dip in the water for a gulp or two.  The dangers of the desert became apparent when Midge inadvertently got her paw stuck on a branch of cholla cactus.  The cholla’s needles are incredibly grabby – even to the point of seeming “sticky.”  Chandler had to perform a few minutes of extraction to clear the needles from Midge’s paw while she patiently waited.


Quick photo-op with Jack.


We noticed that a couple of people were coming out of the General Store with ice cream cones, so the temptation overcame us and we went for some dessert too.  I recommend the waffle cone and chocolate!  We were in a “country” mood for the return drive so while Jack dozed off in the backseat, Chandler and I treated our ears to a few hits from Tim McGraw and Sam Hunt.  Midge may have caught a few minutes of shuteye, too.  Here are the rest of the pictures from our adventure.

Clean ILX after a hand-wash late last week.


Menu cover to Superstition Saloon restaurant.


A look inside the restaurant.


Some decor outside the General Store.


Mine replica and some fun antique artifacts in the surrounding area.


Nothing quite like a bright blue sky.


Acura NSX meet-up later that evening with a few friends.  I drove my 1992 down to meet up with everyone.


Group at dinner.


Few other blurry pictures, but you get the idea.  We have a a great group of NSX enthusiasts here in Arizona.


Few more of the cars.


Formula Red is such a great color on these cars.  But, I might be biased.


Hope the weekend has treated everyone well!


Readers’ Rides: TL Type-S Twins

Posted in Reader's Ride on January 21, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  532,417


Odometer (ILX):  110,773



For awhile now, I’ve had a not-so-secret obsession with the 3rd generation Acura TL “Type-S” that was offered in model years 2007 & 2008.  I’ve always thought it’s one of Acura’s best designs and even today, 7+ years later, I break my neck trying to catch a glimpse every time I spy one out on the road.


Apparently, I’m not alone.  Why else would my friends Chris and Marc have each gone to such great lengths to seek out and buy such a car?  Last month, Chris had his 2008 TL Type-S transported from Austin, Texas, to Baltimore, Maryland after a sight-unseen online purchase.  And last week, Marc flew to southern Florida and picked up his 2007 Type-S, only to immediately get in the car and drive it nearly 1,200 miles home to New Jersey.  There is just something about these elusive Type-S 6-speeds that makes them that special.

Chris’ neighbors in Havre de Grace, MD had a glimpse at an extremely rare sight last Friday when Marc paid a visit and the two “Kinetic Blue Pearl” TLs met for the first time.

  • Chris’ car:  2008 with 61,000 miles
  • Marc’s car:  2007 with 174,800 miles
  • Both:  Absolutely immaculate


Head-to-head.  A Texas car ends up in Maryland, and a Florida car ends up in New Jersey.


These guys are making me want to join the KBP TL-S 6MT club (that’s a mouthful) in a big way.


Nice looking rear ends.  These TLs are powered by a 3.5 liter V6 that pushes out 286 horsepower.


One of my favorite designs from Acura, ever.


I suppose it’s only a matter of time until the TL-S “bug” gets the best of me and I join the club.  I asked Chris to tell me a little about what makes his TL-S so special.

When the 2004 TL came out, instantly fell in love with the exterior styling and the fit and finish of the interior.  I couldn’t wait to hit my local auto show to sit inside one. At the time I was content driving my somewhat rare 20th Anniversary Edition Nissan Maxima. But I knew if something ever happened to that car, the TL would be the next one in my driveway. The icing on the cake was Acura’s offering of a 6-speed manual transmission.

Seven years later, the Maxima was gone and it was a matter of time before I picked up another sports sedan. I knew the Type-S had returned for 2 years and was the model I had to have as I’ve only been interested in cars that are rare or harder to find. After spending months performing nationwide searches for a TL Type-S with a 6-speed manual, I noticed all the results were black, white, silver and carbon bronze; though I knew a blue and red one existed but they always seemed to be automatics.

After reading numerous threads and research, the Kinetic Blue and Moroccan red were definitely the rarest colors equipped with a manual trans.  I wasn’t a big fan of the red so it would have to be blue.  After months of searching to no avail, a kinetic blue Pearl result finally popped up on Carmax with no photos as the ad was fresh.  The mileage was incredibly low and knowing how rare these cars were I had to have it and bought it sight unseen. Luckily for me it was a one-owner with all Acura maintenance up to date and the factory A-Spec kit had been installed.  I took delivery of a rare and near showroom quality car and couldn’t be happier with it.




Marc’s comments were similar.  Following are his own words:

The 2007/8 TL Type-S had been on my wish list since first seeing them on the road when Acura brought back the Type-S model at that time (’07). Very similar to back in the mid-90s and I would see 2nd gen legend coupes on the road and think how nice they looked. After seeing a Sherwood Green Legend LS coupe on a highway in Florida that looked stunning, I knew some day I would own one. At that time they were too costly for me.

So fast forward to the years 2007-08 and my search ended in owning not just one but two low-mileage legend coupes that have essentially been garage queens. The 3rd gen TL-s was new to the road at this time and was a bit too costly for me. And I had the Legends now so I figured maybe a few years down the road…  So fast forward to today and my daily driver car (an ’02 TLs) started to exhibit some of their notorious transmission failure symptoms. I started to look around for an 07/08 Type-S with 6 speed manual. Figuring the cars were now at 7-8 years old, prices are pretty reasonable. Unfortunately, much like trying to find a well-cared-for and clean manual Legend coupe, the same holds true for the TLs. I found a couple local ones with higher miles, but test drives proved they may not have had an easy life. I had always really like the Kinetic Blue Pearl color, but I was leaning now towards a White Diamond Pearl with black/gray interior.

Right after the New Year I come across a 2007 Kinetic Blue Pearl just listed on a popular auto classified site. This color combo with the two-tone black/gray with 6MT is becoming pretty scarce. It was traded in at an Audi dealer in south Florida. At first look, the mileage was high at 174k so my first thought was it was too many miles and too far away. But at closer examination, the pictures revealed a very clean car. Then looking at the Carfax report, it revealed an extremely well-maintained car — one that had been to the dealer for every required service. And I also find out it was a one owner and by a gentleman in his 50s.

Things start to sound intriguing as I figure the car also has likely been racking up these miles on the smooth, pothole free, unsalted roads of Florida. One thing leads to another, I figure it was worth the risk of buying a cheap one-way ticket to Florida and drive the car over 1300 miles back to NJ. Fortunately my intuition proved correct and the drive home was a blast. Kind of ironic how 20 years prior when I laid my eyes on that Sherwood Green Legend coupe and knew I had to have one, I was now traveling to Florida to buy a different Acura that I had been lusting over.



Dreams do come true for Acura fanatics!  Thanks, guys, for sharing these pics – as well as your great enthusiasm for these amazing cars.

Hey, before you all click away, check out this sweet video.  My brother Bentley has put a lot of time & effort into building a custom 1968 Chevy Nova SS.  Now, it’s the subject of an online contest by H&S Motorsports called “Guess the Power.”  If you watch this video, “like” the H&S Motorsports Facebook page, and comment your HP guess, you have a chance of winning a hat.  Go for it.

2015 Rock & Roll Arizona Half Marathon

Posted in Arizona, Running on January 19, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  532,391


Post-race conversation between my friend Rustin, and my mom, Tia:

  • Rustin:  So, you left them in your dust?
  • Mom:  No, the dust had already settled by then.

That pretty much sums it up!  Marathon Mom has done it again by showing the rest of us who’s boss.

When my return flight from Detroit landed in Phoenix on Wednesday morning after attending the North American International Auto Show, I hit the ground running.  I immediately had to commute to the office and catch up on 270 unread emails from being out of the office for two business days.  My mom & stepdad arrived from Utah that same evening, and we spent the last several days together.

The grand finale of mom’s Arizona visit was this year’s PF Chang’s Arizona Rock & Roll Half Marathon, which I’ve run with her a half-dozen or so times in the past.  The 13.1-mile race course starts and ends near Arizona State University in Tempe in the historic Mill Avenue district.  This year I competed alongside my mom (veteran of more than a hundred competitive running events), my step-dad Todd (relatively new to the scene), and my friend Beau (first-timer!).  We made our way to the start line around 6:30 in the morning on Sunday.

The cool thing about the Rock & Roll series races is that, true to its name, the entertainment comes with the experience.  At least a half-dozen bands were playing alongside the race course as 22,000 runners pounded the pavement.  By about mile 6, I had to shift to a run/walk/run/walk strategy to save myself from burning out.  My “training” for this event — if it can even be called that — had consisted of one, 3-mile, jog around my neighborhood last week.  That’s it.

When the finish line finally came into sight, it was a glorious occasion.  I chugged not one, not two, but three bottles of chocolate milk in the runner recovery area.  It hit the spot.  I’ll share just a few pictures with you today.  First, mom’s spy shot of me getting into the Legend after Saturday’s marathon expo.


Mom’s shot of me driving through my neighborhood.


And mom’s 2003 Lexus GS430.  Still looking good at 135,000 miles.  And what’s not to love about a torquey V8 and silky smooth transmission?


Early morning eastward view down University Avenue in Tempe, Arizona, just prior to race start.


Runners congregating in their assigned “Corrals” – 20 or so in total.


Running up McDowell Road through Papago Park.


Quick selfie with my mom around mile 9.


Getting close to the finish!


Mom’s spy shot of me approaching the finish.  She seems to be handy with the phone-cam!


And, the victors!  Beau, Tia, Tyson, with our medals.


Hope everyone’s week is off to a great start.

High Mile VW and Vette Stories

Posted in Milestones, Reader's Ride on January 17, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  532,340


Odometer (ILX):  109,814


I was fixing a salad in the cafeteria at work a few days ago and ran into my coworker Todd who’s been a long-time reader of the blog.  He was excited to tell me about his high-mile acquisition:  a 2003 Volkswagen Passat with 304,879 miles on it.  The car has clearly been well-maintained to make it this far on its original 1.8 motor, manual transmission, and even clutch.  Todd has only had to do a few small cosmetic repairs since taking delivery of the car.  I will be staying in touch with him as he presses onward toward the 350,000 mile mark.



Shifting sights to the domestic car world, my friend Kyle (and later, my buddy Joe) recently clued me in on this awesome YouTube feature.  Mark, the original owner of a red 2000 Chevy Corvette, has shared it with the world in a short 2-minute video.  The special feature of this Corvette is its odometer which reads over 648,000 miles.  Mark’s work commute has caused him to pack on the miles.  This particular Corvette is his 5th – and each of his previous cars have also had high miles on them.  I congratulate him on his achievement!


My own crusade on the mileage front continues.  I recently had to replace the battery in my 2013 ILX for the first time.  The original unit lasted me about 2.5 years and 109,499 miles.  I ended up going with a $135 Duralast unit from Autozone with a 3-year warranty.  Out with the old, and in with the new!


A few more pics for entertainment before closing.  Back on Christmas Day, I took a drive through the Salt River Canyon in the ILX.  I took this picture.


I sent it to my friend Kyle that day because I knew he’d be driving through the same area.  Today, he surprised me by taking a photo in the same location, with his 2005 Pontiac GTO.  Nicely done, Kyle!


And a very sweet Pontiac, I might add.


Today, the Legend came out to enjoy perfect temps.  My mom and I are running the Rock & Roll Arizona Half-Marathon tomorrow morning, so we had to go to an exposition at the convention center downtown.


There’s a building on 7th Street & south of Jefferson that is absolutely covered in retired street signs.


We got our runner numbers & gear.


Then met another friend for brunch.


Happy driving, all!!!

Detroit: 2015 North American International Auto Show

Posted in Blog, Car Show, NSX on January 14, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (Legend):  532,287


Odometer (ILX):  109,718


Since 1899, Detroit has been home to one of the largest auto shows in North America.  What kinds of cars were even around that long ago?  As the operational headquarters for the “Big 3” automakers (Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors), Motor City has always been the logical place for the auto show to take place, despite the fact that frigid weather there each January is somewhat less than welcoming.


Up until 1965, the show was held at various locations in the Detroit Metro Area, like the city’s fairgrounds.  But since 1965, it’s occupied over 1 million square feet of show space at the “Cobo Center” convention facility.  Over 900,000 people attend the show annually during the week that it’s open to the general public.


This year, I once again attended as a member of the Redline Productions Media (RPM) team, which is headquarted in the Washington DC area and has created a name for itself in the automotive video review arena.  Redline’s YouTube Channel has amassed over 24 million video views since its inception in May, 2012, and has over 85,000 subscribers.  Editor-in-Chief Sofyan Bey hosts the series and occasionally invites other automotive journalists like myself to join in on the fun.

This marked my fourth time attending the Detroit Auto Show.  It seems like just yesterday I was sitting on the front row of the Acura press conference awaiting the reveal of the 2013 ILX & NSX Concepts during the show in January 2012.  Reminisce with me:


I had to laugh when I exited the rental car shuttle bus at Detroit airport to pick up my car on Sunday night.  The attendant at Nationwide said, “Keys are in the cars.  Take anything in the midsize row.”  In a heavy snowstorm, I dragged my rollaway bag to the parking lot and soon learned that there were only two midsize cars available, and they were both Chevy Camaros.

I picked the red one and went on my way, wondering how I’d just managed to get a vehicle upgrade for free.  It took only a few yards of driving before it dawned on me:  The reason nobody had taken the Camaro was because rear-wheel-drive in the snow is far less than optimal!  The short 4-mile drive to my hotel in snow-covered roads was a crash course (thankfully, not literally) in how to handle slick-road RWD driving dynamics.  I had some fun with it, too.


The two days that I spent at Media Days were jam-packed with photography, filming, networking, and attending press conferences.  In between all of that, I walked a total of over 10 miles walking from exhibit to exhibit!  The showstoppers this year for me were the Acura NSX and Ford GT supercars, each wowing the crowd with its exotic design.

Aside from that, there were dozens of other noteworthy new-car reveals that I acquainted myself with.  The Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Titan were long-overdue for new bodystyles which they finally received.  Cadillac’s heart-pumping 600+ horsepower CTS-V made its entrance, and Buick launched its first convertible in 25 years (the “Cascada”).


The capstone to a great trip was the chance I had on Tuesday night to meet up with two old friends and make a new one.  I met up near Michigan Central Station at Mercury Bar for dinner with my old buddies Hass and Waseem, then I headed to Royal Oak for a meet-up with Chris who I met via Instagram.  Chris even threw me the keys to his 2007 Acura TL Type-S for a spirited jaunt up Highway 696!  Thanks, guys for meeting up.


Below is the photo highlight story of how my trip to Motor City went.  Thanks for coming along!

Video of the NSX reveal from my perspective, with multiple glances at Jerry Seinfeld seated ahead of me for good measure.

ILX parked at Phoenix Sky Harbor terminal 4 for a few days


Flight 15F – window seat overlooking the wing on my Southwest PHX-DTW flight


I left the Arizona sunshine for this?


My hot-rod Camaro V6 automatic rental with 9,500 miles on the odometer.  Fun car, plenty of power.  Blind spots were massive, and for some reason it tried dialing OnStar 6 times repeatedly for no reason.  WTH?


Sofyan, Jackson, Tyson:  the Redline Reviews crew en route to Day 1 of the auto show, just about to catch our ride on the Detroit People Mover (DPM) which costs $0.75 and takes a loop around downtown.


New Nissan Titan – finally.


New Toyota Tacoma – finally.  Did you know that every 2016 Tacoma will come with a GoPro video camera mount on the inside, passenger side windshield?  Toyota is offering this truck in a 6-speed stick, too, which I think is cool.


Infiniti Q60 Concept replaces the outgoing model which has been based on the aging G37 Coupe platform.


New Lexus GS-F sports sedan follows in the footsteps of the smaller IS-F, pumping out 467 horsepower.


Second-row seat at the 11:50 a.m. Acura press conference, awaiting the debut of the 2016 NSX.


Finally getting a look at Acura’s next supercar.


I dig the wheels, and I think that “Athletic Red” paint color is the same that was used when the TLX model launched a year ago.


NSX interior.


My phone went crazy for a few hours with texts from friends wanting a firsthand opinion of the new NSX.  I got a kick out of people like my friend Nick in NJ who offered to split the cost of the car.


No NAIAS would be complete without a few “celebrity” encounters.  Here are a few of the people I ran into.

Davis Adams, Honda Public Relations


Steve Ewing, Sr. Editor of Autoblog


Nyko dePeyer, Executive from Local Motors


Jon Ikeda, Acura Design


Donny Nordlicht, Cadillac Public Relations


Brian Cooley, Editor-in-Chief of CNET


Chuck Schifsky, Acura Public Relations


Steve Siler, Car & Driver / freelance author


Jason Mosery, Autoguide


Jason Richmond, Hondapro Jason and Sage Marie, Honda/Acura Public Relations


New Ford GT Supercar, during Sofyan’s intro.  Twin-turbo V6, 600+ horsepower.  Don’t get in its way.


2016 Audi Q3. I’m a sucker for this blue hue.


Look, it’s Canada!  This is the view from Cobo Hall across the Detroit River to Windsor, Ontario.


NSX “swag” on display during Day 2.  I must own that jacket someday!


More memorabilia.


The rest of the Ac fleet came out to play on the second day, too, including the 2016 ILX.


Exiting Cobo Hall after an exhausting, yet fun, couple of days.


Quick visit to Michigan Central Station.  Once the tallest railway station in the world, this 1912 building has been abandoned since 1988.  My Camaro looked pretty photogenic, too.


Dinner with long-time “Legend” friends, Hass and Waseem, who are local to the Detroit area.


And another shot of Chris’ TL-S.  Hot ride even in cold weather!


Bright and early this morning (as in, 1:00 a.m. my time), I was getting ready for my return flight to Phoenix.


As I was running through the Phoenix airport, I saw this T-shirt for sale out of the corner of my eye and I stopped in my tracks.  Doesn’t the font look a little bit like “ILX”?


Peace out until next time!

Quick Tease: 2016 Acura NSX at Detroit Auto Show

Posted in Car Show on January 12, 2015 by tysonhugie

My, oh my, it’s been a star-studded day out here in Motor City.  I’ll need a little time to wrap my mind around all 154 pictures that I took today during my first day at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), but I would be selfish if I kept them all to myself any longer than I already have.  Specifically, I want to share with you just a few images of the newly-revealed Acura NSX.

Acura’s “halo” supercar debuted today after a 3-year development process that started when the concept model first saw the public eye in 2012.  When the twin-turbo V6 rolled out onto the show floor today in front of hundreds of journalists, it left most of us stunned.  And when they revved the car’s engine, it sent shivers down my spine.  This was the performance car so many of us have been waiting for.  I’ll share my experience at NAIAS in greater detail soon, but here are a few teasers.

Acura booth


Early arrival for a second-row seat for the 11:50 a.m. press conference.  With me in attendance were none other than Sofyan Bey, Editor-in-Chief for Redline Reviews, and Hondapro Jason.  Like I said, I was surrounded by celebrities today.


This gorgeous car made its entrance amid music that had our hearts pumping.


Ted Klaus, Large Project Leader, discusses some of the NSX highlights.


Vantage point from my seat.  Does that guy at left look familiar to anyone?


He should.  That’s Jerry Seinfeld!  How’s this for a #seinfeldselfie?


And the crowd goes wild!


Finally was able to squeeze my way in for a quick pic!


And here’s one without me blocking the nice view!


Full 35-minute press conference on Acura’s YouTube channel.  Watch for me in the background at about 26:20.  Haha.

Much, much more to come in the days ahead as I get my act together and start posting.  I’m just having too much fun!


Adios from Detroit.

Pics: Birthday Weekend 33

Posted in Arizona, Hikes, ILX on January 2, 2015 by tysonhugie

Odometer (ILX):  109,058


Odometer (NSX):  99,301


Happy New Year!  Got a grab-bag of pics to share today as we kick off 2015.  I’m feeling pretty ancient these days!  I hit my 33rd milestone birthday last Sunday, December 28th.  All threes, baby.  Kind of like that road trip in July 2008 when I rolled threes in my Legend.


The outpouring of birthday wishes was overwhelming.  At least a couple dozen of the posts on my Facebook page had some reference or another to car stuff, like this special Happy Birthday graphic made with Honda & Acura emblems.


This was one of my faves:


As well as this from Dillon:


Thanks, Dillon!

And a few references to road trips rounded out the mix:


One friend (HondaPro Jason) even went to the effort of making me a video!  My mom made a special card for me.


The whole weekend was filled with festivities.  Every year between Christmas and New Years, my dad & stepmom come down to Arizona from Utah to visit.  We always find fun projects to work on around the house.  This time, we focused our attention on the front yard.  The area near my front door has always been a bit of an eyesore.


The ILX doubled as a pickup truck when I went to Lowe’s and picked up 17 bags of large river rock.  We ended up making at least two other trips – transporting probably 40 bags or more.


Step 1 – Clearing out the area.


Step 2 – Dad working on a pesky root that was in the way.


Step 3 – Laying down the new rock.


Step 4 – Finished product!


My dad also got me some storage containers for my cabinet in the garage and we organized it.


Time for an ILX bath.


And a visit from Joe who drives this 165,000-mile 1995 Legend LS coupe.


It was great to catch up with Joe again.


But wait, there’s more.  Walter, who owns the gorgeous 2015 Legend Coupe, stopped by in his new Acura RLX Sport Hybrid.


That pearl white was blinding in the afternoon sunlight.


We took a quick spin around the block and onto Loop 101 for a spirited onramp acceleration exercise.  This car can get up and go!


Gorgeous from every angle.


Those 19’s really set the car off.


Just 110 miles on this beauty.


There were only 250 of the SH-AWD RLXs produced.  It’s a very limited-edition model.


Dinner with some friends.


Sunday morning hike up Hayden Butte in Tempe.


View overlooking the city.  Gorgeous December day!


The ILX got its 3rd set of tires on New Year’s Eve.  I went with Michelin Primacy MXM4’s from TireRack.  I got 56,649 miles out of my last set.  The cool thing is, I picked up an extra full-size 17″ wheel, so now I’m using that as a spare tire instead of the teeny little donut that came with the car.


And finally, my old red car had a fun week in the hands of my buddy Devan who was back visiting from school in Indiana for the holidays and needed a “rental.”  He took good care of it and even gave it a detail.


Foam bath


All clean


Check out those racing stripes in the carpet!


Follow Devan’s detailing biz on Instagram at @dnaautodetailing.  He does great work, as you can tell!

Hope everyone has a great weekend.